Today, I speak to Bert Decker about effective communication, including the significance and some useful tips for successfully communicating your message to others, in and out of the workplace. This is clearly a very important topic to go over, especially because people have short attention spans, make quick first impressions and enjoy good presentations.
Why is effective communication important, not just in the workplace, but in life in general? What makes it such a significant quality for developing a personal branding?
Bruce Barton, founder of BBD&O and a great businessman and author said, “Talkers have always ruled, they will continue to rule. The smart thing is to join them.”
If you look at every walk of life where there is human interaction – teaching, business, government, etc. you will fine the most effective and successful people are those who can communicate well. Not so much in intellectual pursuit – that is more cognitive and less behavioral. In my new book “You’ve Got To Be Believed To Be Heard” I talk about the New Communicators who are successful (Steve Jobs, Harold Schultz, Oprah among others) and the Old Communicators who are not (Lee Raymond-Exxon CEO, Michael Chertoff, Jeannine Pirro) and the difference is totally in their communications. Spoken communications.
There are a lot of people out there that are scared to public speak. What are your tips for conquering stage fright and rising to the occasion?
“Fear is an inside job, and everyone has some.”
There are four stages with emotion, behavior and position relating to each. (eg: Emotion one moves from Terror to Fear to Tension to Stimulation. You have to ‘just do it,’ but with feedback and support. The best feedback is video feedback, and everyone should go through a video feedback program at least once every two years – particularly if they are fearful. It’s a great confidence builder (after you get over seeing yourself for the first time.)
Can you explain the importance of eye contact and body language when communicating with others?
I can write a book on it (and have with “You’ve Got To Be Believed To Be Heard.”) Simply put, the eye is the most powerful of all our five sensory organs, and is essential for three connections: intimacy, intimidation and involvement. When we are talking about business communications you want to be involved, engaged, with your listener. Eye communication is the most important of the six behavioral skills, and you should get in the habit of looking at people for at least five seconds – whether in an audience or in an interview. Then we glance away, and look again. When you don’t have eye communication, you flat out don’t have communication.
The other five behavioral skills are important to communicating, and involve energy through gestures and voice. Communication rides energy.
How does one go from communicating a message to building trust?
You can’t communicate a message without building trust. You can write it out I suppose, and communicate information, but we are talking about personal communication here, about influencing people, and that’s totally different.
- Go to a communications program.
- Stay in a coaching relationship to get feedback.
- See yourself on videotape, regularly. (And record your voice on a digital audio recorder – think of the phone.)
- Have a focused, listener based message.
- Have a forward lean in creating opportunities to speak publicly.
- Read books on communicating.
- Help others communicate more effectively – teachers learn.
- Ask more of yourself.
When it comes to the internet, people communicate without ever saying anything. How does one shape impressions, when they aren’t really allowed to talk (maybe in a podcast)?
Now this is really the subject of an entire separate interview – communicating effectively in the Blackberry/Internet/iPhone/Twitter/Blog age. There are ways to not abuse the great technology available.
Bert Decker is founder of Decker Communications, Inc. For more than a quarter of a century, his company has been transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of business professionals. He has been featured in the NY Times, Business Week, 20/20, as well as being the communications commentator for the NBC TODAY Show for the presidential debates.
He is a professional speaker and best selling author of “You’ve Got to Be Believed To Be Heard” and “Speaking With Bold Assurance.” He’s the founder of four companies, Chairman of Bold Assurance Ministries, NBC TODAY Communications Expert commentator, and Advisory Board Salvation Army. In his spare time, he blogs.